Will Indian Road Homes Ever Come Down
It is time for this City to deal with issues in a real manner and to move forward finally. We have been stuck in a border rut since the winter of 2002, and before. We truly do need "leadership" to use the word of the Premier. The community that has suffered the most and will suffer more while being Delray-ed has been Sandwich! Who would invest in Sandwich now after the last few years of Interim Control and Demolition By-laws!
Stall them off, make life difficult, be an irritant. That is all this is. Work together to solve a problem for the region in a time of economic distress....do not be silly. Who needs thousands of jobs.
And this strategy is really working. NOT. One just has to look at the Ambassador Gateway project and compare that with the lack of action on this side. When will the Americans finally wake up and demand that Canada build their road to the Ambassador Bridge soon since the concept of a P3 bridge is dead with the loss of traffic due to industry closings, lack of tourists and the economic melt-down.
Is our Mayor truly an entrepreneur? Perhaps he is but only at taxpayer expense, not his. He is not the one who has invested a half a billion dollars so far of his money for improvements to the border. Our Mayor wanted to build a Horseshoe Road at a cost of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars that would not have moved one single truck across the border more quickly while the Bridge Company built 4 US Customs booths at a cost of a few million of their own dollars that virtually ended truck backups.
His efforts to stop the Bridge Company can easily be viewed as using the power of the City to help out the Bridge Company's competitor, the Tunnel, owned remarkably by the City as well. I am sure you remember his role in killing the Bridge Company's proposal to Detroit and then making his own offer for the Tunnel in an amount several times higher. It is not a hard leap to make the argument that his opposition to the Bridge Company's Enhancement Project that will ultimately cost Windsor taxpayers a huge amount of money for legal and consulting fees was designed to ensure that the DRIC bridge went to Brighton Beach where the City wants to sell its property.
An arena in the East End---taxpayer expense, canals---taxpayer expense, the airport---taxpayer expense, Tunnel deal---taxpayer expense, Tunnel Plaza Improvements---taxpayer expense, $60M (reduced from $100M it seems) investment fund---taxpayer expense, bus terminal giveaway--taxpayer expense, Keg parking giveaway---taxpayer expense, Cleary giveaway---taxpayer expense, Naming rights and Spitfires deal giveaway---taxpayer expense.
A Young Entrepreneur of the Year playing with my and your hard-earned money, dear reader, as our infrastructure--roads, sewers and watermains--falls apart. More additional taxpayer expense to come as we know from the 86% WUC fiasco. Or will we have a P3 fire sale of Enwin and WUC to allow more money to be squandered soon.
And we are trying to encourage Seniors to move here!
The Bridge Company should have learned their lesson. By acting responsibly, they allowed Administration to justify why they want to reject their application to demolish the fire-damaged home on Indian Road. The house is a write-off yet according to the Report, the Bridge Company foolishly secured the home. If they had left it open to rot or so that people could gain access to the house, then presumably Administration would have recommended that it be demolished. Wasn’t that the case in some other demolitions including that of a City-owned home?
It certainly doesn’t matter that the home is damaged beyond repair and that if it was torn down and replaced with green space, then it would at least look attractive. Heaven forbid. One would not want to set a precedent about greening the neighbourhood.
In reading the Report, I could see how Administrations’ heart went out to the residents of the area but they do have a Community Improvement Plan and a Heritage Plan that they have to protect. After all that effort, why let the concerns of a few citizens trump their goal to hurt the Bridge Company.
It should be very interesting to see what Council does with this matter. Will they support Administration or will they overrule Administration and allow the house to come down? I would think that the residents of the area would be happy if the house was torn down but who cares what citizens think if the object of the exercise is to stop the Ambassador Bridge Company.
We will be able to see how much influence Councillor Postma has with her colleagues. She is after all the one saying that she wants all the boarded-up homes torn down provided that there is an ironclad guarantee from the Bridge Company as to what they are going to do.
Will she have the ability to persuade her colleagues to follow her wishes? I doubt that she will even be able to convince her Wardmate to change his mind. If not, I would expect the residents of Ward 2 to be quite upset about her inability to accomplish something for the Ward. It is not enough for her to be able to say that I tried but was voted down by the rest of my colleagues. Her function is not to try but to succeed.
It will also be very interesting to see what Councillor Jones does. Will he support his colleague and the residents of the area or will he vote against them?
I would expect that the vote would be six to four in support of Administration. It would be fun however if one of the six decided to allow the fire damaged home to be demolished since that would create a tie vote. In that case, what would be Mayor do?
If I was the Bridge Company lawyer, I would merely run that clip rather than make a speech. No one could be more eloquent or logical why the home must come down!
Let's assume that the vote is 5-5. If Eddie votes to support the Administration recommendation, then he is front and centre if there is a lawsuit over the demolition of the homes. If he chooses NOT to break the tie, then the Administration Recommendation loses. Watch then for a Motion to allow demolition and it will lose too on a 5-5 vote with the Mayor now choosing not to vote to break the tie.
Hmmmm....State of Limbo.....cannot support demolition, cannot support NO demolition. Chaos!
It is very clear that the Bridge Company was right in not going in front of Council to try to get all of their homes torn down as was suggested. Councillor Postma tried to get them to do so but for what purpose. Administration had said before that they would probably not support any demolitions in the area and their Report proves the point. If they will not support the demolition of a fire-damaged house, then the Bridge Company has no hope of ever getting a demolition permit for their other homes.
All that would have happened at Council would have been further embarrassment of the Company and rejection of their application. It would have been another example of the bad faith shown by the Council towards the Company.
The Bridge Ccompany declined to be suckered!
PS. I have it...I know what Eddie Francis can do to get out of this messy situation:
- Run and hide and let the Councillors take the blame and the hit no matter how the vote goes!
He would just disappear as the Agenda Item is discussed. Watch the clip again. He leaves the meeting as the matter is introduced and does not come back until it is over.
Here is what the Official City Minutes of Meeting said when Mr. Flood was in front of Council:
- "2919 Donnelly Street – Request for Exemption from Demolition Control By-law and Interim Control By-law, Kevin Flood, Applicant
Mayor Francis leaves the meeting at 8:05 o’clock p.m., and Councillor Marra assumes the Chair.
Kevin Flood, Applicant, appears before Council to request an exemption from Demolition Control By-law and Interim Control By-law for the Olde Sandwich Towne area, so that he may demolish the existing house at 2919 Donnelly Street, so that he may clean up the property, with no intention of taking out a building permit in the future...
Mayor Francis returns to the meeting at 8:18 o’clock p.m., and Councillor Marra returns to his seat at the Council table.
I wonder if there was a long-standing family matter he had to attend to at that exact moment when he left the Chambers. Will there be another tonight?
As a sub-plot, it will also be interesting to watch the dynamics between a lawyer who practises law, the lawyer for the Bridge Company, Paula Lombardi, and our Mayor/lawyer. As we know from past experience, Ms. Lombardi is NOT afraid to stand up to him and knows how to handle him.